Sirui SH05 review — affordable tripod kit with half-ball video head

The Sirui SH05 is a tripod kit that consists of three legs, a video head and has a payload of up to 6kg. The legs have three sections that can be extended by loosening the two black knobs on each leg. The easiest way to extend the legs is by simply pulling the tripod up by holding the head. The tripod itself weighs around 3.2kg. For a video tripod the legs are compact and lightweight.

Center spread

A lot of professional video tripods have a locking mechanism to avoid the legs from moving and changing their position. But the center spread of the SH05 can’t be locked. This certainly is a missing feature that can make a big difference.

By pulling the spreader up, the legs will move inwards and the height of the tripod increases but the stability of the setup is less safe.

Center spread can’t be locked

When packing up, the buckles on each leg can be used to clip on to the next one to avoid the legs from bouncing around.

Stainless steel spikes

On the end of each leg is a rounded rubber part with stainless steel spikes that can be revealed by screwing the rubber up. Depending on the ground or soil it can make sense to use the spikes to make sure the tripod is standing safely.

Half-ball video head

The video head is compact and has a ball head to adjust the horizon quickly. Just like with most fluid heads it can be mounted and removed by turning the handle below. The bubble level is on the head only and not on the legs. If you are not familiar with half-ball heads: They allow a precise leveling of the correct horizon. The legs don’t need to be perfectly even on the ground. With other tripods that don’t have a half-ball you would need to precisely adjust the legs length on the floor to level the whole tripod.

Rotating the knob under the head to loosen it and adjust the horizon
Bubble level on the tripod head

Quick release plate

The quick release plate has a length of 10cm and comes with a 1/4” and a 3/8” screw to mount the camera. The screws can be interchanged by pulling down the rubber at the bottom of the plate. The top has three rubber parts on each side to avoid the camera from getting damaged.

QR plate with a 1/4″ and a 3/8″ screw

The QR plate can be removed by loosening the knob on the right side. The red button on the left must be pressed while pulling the plate back. It can’t be put in from the side but from the back only.

I tried to use other QR plates from Manfrotto on the SH05 but none of them fit. That is certainly something to be aware of when for example shooting a project with multiple tripods.

The QR plate screws can be stored under the back bottom side of the head by screwing them in. This is very useful since storing screws somewhere else often results in loosing them or having mounted them somewhere else.

Storing the QR plate screws

On both sides of the head are 3/8” screw holes to mount accessories like magic arms, monitors, receivers or other gear.

3/8″ mounting options on both sides of the head

Pan & tilt

One of the most if not the most important features of any video tripod is the smoothness of the pan and tilt motion. The SH05’s head has a knob to adjusting the panning and another one to adjust the tilting. The motion is surprisingly smooth and buttery. The head has a good amount of friction and resistance which especially comes in handy when filming with tele-photo lenses or heavier setups.

Adjusting the pan and tilt of the Sirui SH05

When letting go of the tilt it will slowly move back into center position. Other tripods have an option to switch this feature on and off but the SH05 always does this unless you lock it in position. Additional fine tuning to adjust the friction is not possible. Only the two knobs can be adjusted.

Size & built quality

When I set up the tripod for the first time I was actually surprised by how small it was. It’s certainly useful to have a compact tripod because I mostly shoot with mirrorless cameras or other lightweight setups. The only downside of the small size is the height. With the legs fully extended and spread its height is only 1.4m. I think this is simply too small. For a lot of filming scenarios this will do just fine but for filming interviews with someone standing and not sitting this certainly won’t work. When comparing it to a regular photo tripod the height advantage of a middle column is noticeable.

Fully extended tripod

The minimum height is 71cm with a 14cm diameter. This is also something to be keep in mind when trying to get low angle shots since this is still rather high.

The Manfrotto tripods we usually use have been reliable tools for more than 12 years because they were made to last. The SH05 tripod also seems to be well built but I have only tested it for a few weeks now so I can’t speak for the durability.

Alternative without a ball-head: Long photo tripod legs with a fluid video head (Manfrotto setup)


A lot of professional video tripods are heavy, big and often a nightmare to setup. The SH05 is a good fit for smaller camera setups that don’t require such enormous tripods. The head does well what it’s supposed to do. Adjusting the spirit level is easy and fast which is a big advantage compared to heads without a half-ball. The pan and tilt motion is buttery smooth with the right amount of friction which a lot of other affordable tripods don’t have.

Written by filmmaker Moritz Janisch on September 6, 2021

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